The rise of influencer marketing is fast, but it seems that advertising rules are catching up.
Brands are appearing on our favourite influencers’ at an increasing rate. However, it is difficult to distinguish which are organic and which are endorsed.
Seeing this as a problem to consumers, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stepped up by implementing a mandate to label ads as such on social media.
The issue of the lack of transparency was amplified when large celebrity influencers, like the Kardashian family (namely, @kimkardashian and @kyliejenner), were called out by authorities and were warned not to leave out sponsored labels on their numerous endorsed posts.
Now, Instagram also sees the value in protecting the community by going beyond hashtags and captions and have started putting up “paid partnership” tags on posts and stories.
To run & hide?
Currently, this is only done on a voluntary basis by certain brands and businesses in the US. However, with the proliferation of influencer marketing campaigns, I wouldn’t be surprised if other countries and organisations follow suit by tightening their restrictions on influencer marketing.
Should we then start panicking and find every way to curb this imposition? The answer is no!
In fact, we should embrace and encourage transparency in our campaigns.
As I’ve stated in my previous article, influencer marketing is successful because it banks on relationships formed between the influencer and the community it has helped formed. This relationship is built on trust, something that a face earns more easily than a logo.
When a compliment is given to a product, it makes a difference if a thousand dollar transaction was involved or not. Not explicitly differentiating the two is essentially lying to the very group whose trust you’re trying to attain.
To protect both the brand and the influencer’s credibility, being transparent about partnerships and endorsements are key. This allows the consumers to make well-informed decisions and if crafted well, will be greatly appreciated by the community.
Contrary to popular belief, transparent adverts do not perform worse than ‘organic’ (but still paid) reviews. In fact, ad campaigns are easy to spot with minimum scrutiny. Once called out, people will always associate your brand as one with something to hide.
Show the community that this product/ service is worth being proud of and that you believe in its value. When the audience feels the same passion as the team and the influencer, they too will be ‘influenced’ and see value in the brand.
The influencer’s following are smart enough to know that their living is earned through paid collaborations. Therefore, they will appreciate transparency; especially if the campaign manages to make the audience feel like they are a part of the influencer’s experience with the brand.
So now that you’re convinced that honesty is the best policy in influencer marketing, go forth and label your winning campaign. But before you go, make sure you check out these 5 pro tips to successfully market your brand with influencers.
What are your thoughts on Instagram ad labels? Are you for or against it? Let me know in the comments below!